| 29 October 2013
With Halloween and Bonfire Night around the corner, the MPS yesterday, Monday 28 October 2013, launched its seasonal crackdown on anti-social behaviour and associated crime.
Anti social behaviour [ASB] can blight the lives of communities - never more so during the period of half term, Halloween and Bonfire Night.
Vulnerable people can be left feeling scared and worried around this time of year because of uninvited trick or treating, or firework misuse.
Criminals also exploit the period, coupled with the nights drawing in, to commit robbery; theft and burglary - targeting high value mobile phones; jewellery and other valuables.
Although overall there has been a reduction in the number of ASB incidents over the past twelve months [rolling year Oct to Sept 2013 compared to the same period in 2012 - there have been 37,950 fewer incidents] and ASB calls are down by nine per cent over the same period, there is always traditionally a rise in ASB incidents around this time of year.
This is particularly evident on Halloween and Bonfire Nights - statistics show that the daily average of ASB incidents for the rest of the year is 998 - whereas last year, on Halloween there were 1,761 ASB incidents on 31 October 2012, [a 77% rise] and 1,255 on Bonfire Night [a 26% rise].
Under 'Operation Safer Places Autumn Nights', all 32 boroughs, working closely with partner agencies, will have a local plan in place to target ASB perpetrators and associated crime.
Borough plans will be delivered by Safer Neighbourhoods Teams, supported by specialist colleagues and partner agencies.
Innovative predictive crime mapping will be used to identify ASB hot spots and associated crime types, including criminal damage and robbery in every neighbourhood in London.
Officers will be stepping up patrols at key times in hot spot areas, including after school patrols and patrols at town centres and transport hubs to disrupt potential involvement in robbery, violence and other criminal activities.
The predictive maps direct officers to areas where they are more likely to be successful in preventing and detecting crime and provides enhanced opportunities to engage with the public and offer crime prevention advice in targeted areas, reducing opportunities for criminals.
Screening arches will also be used as part of wider detection tactics to deter the carrying of weapons. There will also be test purchasing operations regarding the sale of fireworks, alcohol and over the counter weapons.
Schools officers have been reiterating safety tips to young people ahead of the festivities and Safer Neighbourhood Teams are visiting vulnerable residents who can be affected by this period to address any concerns.
In addition, the MPS Safer Transport Command [STC], in partnership with Transport for London, will be carrying out increased high visibility patrols to prevent disorder on buses and at transport hubs across the Capital.
STC officers will be using this opportunity to engage with young people when they are out enjoying the Halloween and Bonfire period reassuring them and providing travel safety advice, as well as educating them on the importance of respecting their fellow passengers when travelling on London's transport network.
Chief Superintendent Jim Read, leading the initiative, said: "Dealing effectively with ASB is an ongoing priority for the MPS and we have made great progress in the way we tackle the problem.
"Whilst we have seen a reduction in both numbers of ASB calls; incidents and repeat victims over the last year, ASB tends to spike in the days and weeks around Halloween and Bonfire Night.
"We want people to enjoy the activities that go with Halloween and Bonfire Night - just make sure your fun is not at another person's expense as not everyone will want to get involved in activities such as trick or treat, which can leave people feeling scared and intimidated.
"We want people to feel safe and secure in their communities and feel confident in reporting their concerns to police. We are listening to local communities and victims to work on solutions to ASB, working closely with our partner agencies.
"ASB will not be tolerated by the MPS and we will take action against those who cause alarm or distress in their communities, using the full range of civil and criminal powers available to us to tackle offenders."
The seasonal ASB initiative builds on the success of Operation Safer Places, launched by the MPS in July 2013.
Safer Places is about the MPS listening to local communities and victims to work on solutions to tackle ASB, building on the work SNT's already do to address ASB concerns.
Police, partners and the public work together through community safety panels; Neighbourhood Watch committees; dedicated ASB ward panels and surgeries to find solutions.
These solutions include ASB surgeries to encourage residents to raise and report concerns; dedicated multi -agency operations to clean up ASB hot spots; activity weeks tackling a wide range of ASB from rowdy, nuisance behaviour to prostitution; school and youth club visits to raise awareness about how the impact of ASB on people's lives and home visits to ASB victims.